Lewis-Clark State Rallies Late to Earn a Spot in the Quarterfinals
By Scott Barker, Communications and Sports Information Intern
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – (Box Score | Bracket) Late free throws proved the difference in No. 4-seed Lewis-Clark State’s (Idaho) 75-70 victory over No. 8-seed Cumberland (Tenn.) in the second round of the 2016 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship.
“I really think our season prepared us for this,” said Lewis-Clarke State head coach Brian Orr. “This is the type of game that we had all conference season and nothing came easy. We were in this situation before and we found ways to win before, whether it was on the road or the couple games at home. I think what we went through to get here helped us prepare for this moment. We beat a really good team tonight there’s no doubt about it.”
Lewis-Clark State (27-6) jumped out to a 12-8 lead in the first five minutes of the first quarter.
Cumberland answered with an 8-0 over the next two minutes to take the four point advantage 16-12. The Phoenix pushed their lead out to six after Julia Fox netted a 3-pointer as time expired and gave Cumberland a 23-17 lead.
Chelsey Hall drained a deep 3-point basket to give the Phoenix an 11-point lead with 5:42 remaining in the quarter. The Warriors cut the lead down to two, but never were able to tie the game or take the lead the rest of the frame. The score was 43-39 in favor of Cumberland.
In the third quarter, Lewis-Clark State regained the lead at the 7:29 mark when Megan Risinger capitalized on a couple free throws to give the Warriors the lead, 45-43 - its first lead since 4:46 left in the first quarter (12-11).
The two teams battled in the final stanza as there were four ties and three lead changes. With the score tied at 69, Brittany Tackett converted an old fashioned three-point play. The Warriors ended the game on a 6-1 run to secure their spot in the quarterfinals.
Free throws were key for Lewis-Clark State, which ranks 3rd in the NAIA in free throw percentage (76 percent), down the stretch as the Warriors converted 4-out-of-5 in the last minute. Lewis-Clark State finished 9-of-10 from the charity stripe for the game.
For the game, Cumberland shot 51 percent from the field and 47 percent from the 3-point line.
Jalita Fason led all scorers with a game-high 25 points. She also added four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Chelsey Hall (14 points) and Julia Fox (10 points) joined Fason in double figures.
For the Warriors, Brittany Tackett netted 21 points and added five assists, three rebounds and a pair of steals. Hannah Byerly contributed with 15 points and six rebounds, while Caelyn Orlandi recorded a 17-point, seven-assist performance.
Lewis-Clark State, which ranks No. 1 in the NAIA in 3-point field goal percentage (39.6), shot a tremendous 66.7 percent (8-of-12) from deep. The Warriors, who are also No. 1 in the NAIA in assist/turnover ratio (1.3), recorded 21 assists compared to 12 turnovers.
Lewis-Clark State advances to the quarterfinals and will face the winner of No. 5-seed Great Falls (Mont.) vs. No. 1-seed Lyon (Ark.) on Saturday at 6 p.m. CDT.